Just as a warning, it may be hard to tell whilst reading this post when I am actually asking a question? because I will amusingly drop question marks all over the place? Just to help make my point. If you can’t tell, just look at the words and establish if I am actually asking you something and you’ll be just fine.
I played the most intense game of rising intonation chicken with a sales person yesterday. She rang and told me what she had to offer but after every statement about what she had to sell, her voice went up and she waited for me to respond. It went something like this:
Saleslady?: Our TV packages include broadband?
Pause. Refusal on my part to respond as what she had said was not a question. Longer pause as I realised she wasn’t going to say anything else until I had acknowledged her ground breaking statement.
Me?: (grudgingly) Uhuh
Saleslady?: As well as a phone line and set up?
More silence. I tried to see just how long she would remain silent for and after a while it just became uncomfortable.
Me?: (irritated) Yup
Saleslady: And we can come and install it all for you without any trouble?
I really don’t understand how this has happened. Nobody used to speak like that. It’s actually really hard work even if you try? Writing it is even more difficult as spell check is having a cow over all of these ill-placed question marks.
There really is nothing wrong with having a little conviction. If you’re ringing to try and sell me broadband, or anything else for that matter, it is ok to be confident when telling me about it. You either do or you don’t sell it, but it seems unlikely that you’d call if you were as unsure as you sound.
The biggest problem with rising intonationitus is that it’s very catching. I fear that this was part of this poor lady’s training and that now her entire conversational life is quite literally in question.
So for anyone who decides to call in the future and requires a response after every inflection, I’m afraid you’re going to be waiting a long, long time. I’ll just carry on with my life until you’re ready to start your next sentence. We could be here a while…